Southern California environment news and trends

A tale of two bills: AEG's fast-tracker & the bigger picture

Two pieces of legislation now on Governor Jerry Brown's desk would streamline (or "fast track" if you prefer that) the state's legendary environmental review process called CEQA. To me, they seem pretty different. Since they're complicated, I'm breaking them down. 

SB 292 would apply only to the Farmers Field/AEG stadium project proposed for downtown Los Angeles. AB 900 would apply to what it terms "leadership projects" that meet certain criteria - either put forward by agencies or endorsed by the governor. (I've got a lot of open questions about that one.) 

It's worth pointing out how the AEG stadium bill differs from AB 900, and what all that means for Governor J.B.

TWO THINGS CEQA LOVERS COULD LIVE WITH ABOUT SB 292 (if they want to)

1. It should make a Farmers Field where car traffic is at least 10 percent less than any other NFL stadium. The law places specific reporting and monitoring requirements for counting car trips ("trip ratio") on AEG, not just for a year, but for the first five years, and if it's not working by then, the city has the right to make AEG do stuff differently. For its part, the city is supposed to re-visit the question of how to come in with fewer car trips than any other stadium, and it has authority over the project for its entire life. 

2. The LA stadium bill is clear about what it wants from carbon neutrality. Emissions reductions in basin first, offsets second; offsets in basin first, anywhere else second. "Offset credits shall be employed by the applicant only after feasible local emission reduction measures have beenimplemented. The applicant shall, to the extent feasible, place the highest priority on the purchase of offset credits that produce emission reductions within the city or the boundaries of the South Coast Air Quality Management District." Ron Kaye makes fun of this, but the language is (relatively) strong and clear. 

ONE (MAYBE INCONVENIENT) TRUTH FOR GOVERNOR BROWN

Brown told the LA Times he liked AB 900. "The CEQA reforms are an effort to improve the jobs climate...I think that will be good." But if he likes Giorgio, he's got to love Primo too. AB 900 contains a provision wherein it doesn't take effect unless SB 292 has. And based on what I'm reading, AB 900 is far more likely to see a courtroom than 292. So in the end, everyone might be right back where they started.

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